tot·​ter | \ ˈtä-tər How to pronounce totter (audio) \
tottered; tottering; totters

Definition of totter

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to move unsteadily : stagger, wobble
2a : to tremble or rock as if about to fall : sway
b : to become unstable : threaten to collapse



Definition of totter (Entry 2 of 2)

: an unsteady gait : wobble

Synonyms for totter

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of totter in a Sentence

Verb The child tottered across the room. He tottered away to bed.
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb There is a tortuous pleasure in watching the book totter under the weight of its contradictions. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, 17 Jan. 2022 But as the regime seemed to totter, its president turned to its old patron, Russia. ABC News, 9 Jan. 2022 Nearby, newborn lambs totter around in their pen, and working dogs relax in cages on the beds of old pickup trucks. Antonia Hitchens, Town & Country, 29 Aug. 2021 Good talent comes and goes, the Blue Jackets totter on, and the Tortorella method never changes. Kevin Paul Dupont,, 13 Feb. 2021 Ubers didn’t pull up to the Kirkwood bars to pick up girls tottering on high heels. Christine Fernando, Indianapolis Star, 11 Apr. 2020 Someone posts a video of their infant tottering around to music from a favorite toy; someone else replies with a seven-second loop of Theresa May, the former British prime minster, dancing jerkily during a state visit to Nairobi. Laurence Scott, Wired, 2 Mar. 2020 The real estate sector, which usually pulls the economy, has been tottering since the demonetisation of Nov. 2016. S. Gopikrishna Warrier, Quartz India, 20 Jan. 2020 The Tigers tottered into deadline week 10 games under .500 and going nowhere fast. Ryan Ford, Detroit Free Press, 31 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Passersby couldn’t help but spot the eight-foot long, bright yellow teeter-totter, ridden by youth of the church the weekend of March 19-20, in an effort to raise funds for local non-profit agencies. Rich Heileman, cleveland, 25 Mar. 2022 There is a seamless convergence between Atlanta’s hot-wing culture and Korea’s fried-chicken culture: an emphasis on shattering crispiness and a balance in flavors, most notably the lip-smacking teeter-totter of sour and sweet. New York Times, 12 Jan. 2022 The most stable place on a teeter-totter is in the middle. Tribune Content Agency, oregonlive, 12 Jan. 2021 This effectively eliminates the very need for the teeter-totter itself. Star Tribune, 2 Oct. 2020 Kathleen Gerson, a professor of sociology at New York University who began researching work-life integration around the same time as Friedman, agrees that a work-life convergence is healthier than trying to stabilize a precarious teeter-totter. Leigh Giangreco, Washington Post, 14 Oct. 2020 The survival of the teeter-totter of our democracy is very much in the balance. Star Tribune, 2 Oct. 2020 No, this episode was just a perfect encapsulation of the everyday frenetic energy with which these women sprint (and somehow simultaneously totter) through life. Jodi Walker,, 1 May 2020 Anyone who's anyone has been asked to help reopen California and rebuild an economy some experts say totters toward a depression. Arlene Martinez, USA TODAY, 18 Apr. 2020 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'totter.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of totter


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2a


1709, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for totter


Middle English toteren

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Time Traveler for totter

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The first known use of totter was in the 15th century

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Dictionary Entries Near totter

Tottenham pudding



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Cite this Entry

“Totter.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for totter


tot·​ter | \ ˈtä-tər How to pronounce totter (audio) \
tottered; tottering

Kids Definition of totter

1 : to sway or rock as if about to fall
2 : to move unsteadily : stagger

More from Merriam-Webster on totter

Nglish: Translation of totter for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of totter for Arabic Speakers


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